Engaging Academia

August 31, 2015

Our combination of great research universities, a pro-risk business culture, deep pools of innovation-seeking equity capital, and reliable business and contract law is unprecedented and unparalleled in the world.
-Marc Andreessen

The Columbus Region boasts over 60 college and university campuses across the 11-county area. While The Ohio State University is the largest, there are dozens more serving the public, educating the workforce, and contributing to the economy and our culture.

While focus is often on students and their potential as a future workforce, institutions of higher education are critical to engage. Their leadership and faculty have the ability to greatly influence economic policy and contribute to a healthy dialogue about growth. And their ability to commercialize technology, launch student and faculty entrepreneurs, and be ambassadors for cities, states, and our country is unique in the world. In fact, SelectUSA, an organization of the U.S. Department of Commerce, points to America’s universities and colleges as one of the five primary advantages of doing business in our country.

For leaders in higher education, it is important to think about your institution’s role in increasing and enabling economic prosperity. Appointing someone who understands the assets of academia, including faculty and alumni relationships, to help facilitate engagement with local and state leaders is a great first step. Working with local and state economic development organizations can often be an extended laboratory for research, and is a way to gain perspective on the issues impacting your area.

For economic developers, it is important to work diligently to understand and engage institutions of higher education with a great respect for their educational mission. Their gifts to all of us often go well beyond the mission to improve our communities.

Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

  • This weekend, the One Columbus team will begin a two week business development mission in Japan with state and local partners.
  • Back at home, BrewDog will host two events to provide an update on their plans in the Columbus Region. The first will be held on September 8 and the second on September 10, both at 6 p.m.